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'It's Mommy!' Soldier home from Kuwait surprises daughter

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, December 18, 2015

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Ryann Hoffhaus, 3, peeks through the wrapping to see what big present awaits her.
 

Jim Fair

Ryann Hoffhaus, 3, peeks through the wrapping to see what big present awaits her.

 



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Jim Fair

"It's mommy!" Ryann hardly gave her mother, Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus, time to get out of the box to wrap her arms around her daughter.

 



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Santa Claus played the perfect set up guy for the reunion of Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus with her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeff Hoffhaus, and their daughter, Ryann, 3.
 

Jim Fair

Santa Claus played the perfect set up guy for the reunion of Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus with her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeff Hoffhaus, and their daughter, Ryann, 3.

 



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It was a happy welcome for the Hoffhaus family at the Wild Ace and Pizza Pub in Greer Friday afternoon.
 

Jim Fair

It was a happy welcome for the Hoffhaus family at the Wild Ace and Pizza Pub in Greer Friday afternoon.

 



Ryann Hoffhaus, 3, peeled back the wrapping on a 6 ½-foot tall box in the corner of Wild Ace Pizza and Pub.

Nodding her head Ryann ripped the package open at her eye level, peeked inside and yelled, “It’s Mommy!”

Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus reached for her daughter, gave her a tight hug and a big kiss on the cheek. “I dreamed about this for days,” Hoffhaus said Friday.

Men sitting at the bar and other restaurant patrons cheered and clapped when they saw the reunion.

Hoffhaus served almost a year in Kuwait and knew she would be home in time for Christmas.  Ryann didn’t.

“The last time I spoke with Ryann (via Skype) she said to hurry home or I would miss Christmas,” Hoffhaus said. 

Jose Salas, Cecelia’s father, planned the special reunion. 

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeff Hoffhaus, had already served in the Mideast and took care of Ryann during his wife’s tour.

The homecoming was planned for three days earlier but flight delays in Germany, Texas and Atlanta did not bring Cecelia home until 1 a.m. Friday morning.  Ryann spent the night at her grandparents.

Cecelia and Jeff arrived at the restaurant 30 minutes ahead of Ryann. “My heart is breaking out of my chest,” Cecelia said. “I can’t wait to hold her.”

Jeff said they didn’t want the reunion to occur at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. “(Ryann) saw her mommy leave on a plane and every time she sees one she thinks it’s mommy,” Jeff said.

The Hoffmans live in Boiling Springs and Salas said Wild Ace was big enough and its staff welcomed the celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

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